Skip to main content

A Case For Dr Morelle

Audio Preview

A Case For Dr Morelle

English Old Time Radio from the 1950s.

This is a vintage radio drama series about a criminal psychologist, Dr Morelle, who solves murder cases which are too complex for the police. Morelle is played by English film actor Cecil Parker, and is alternately helped and hindered in his investigations by his secretary Miss Frayle, played by film actress Sheila Sim.

The series was created by writer Ernest Dudley, who conceived the character during an air raid in 1942. The curmudgeonly and sarcastic psychologist is thought to be based on Hollywood actor and producer Erich von Stroheim; and as played by Cecil Parker the character certainly has a touch of the aristocrat about him.

In a nod to the Baker Street residence of Sherlock Holmes, Morelle's London office is situated at 221b Harley Street. Most of the stories begin there, with his long-suffering secretary patiently enduring her employer's endless sarcasm.

Each of the stories is self-contained, with Morelle solving the mystery in the final scene. Unusually for the time, he solves each case not by hunting for clues in the manner of Sherlock Holmes, but instead through a psychiatrist's insight into the personality of the killer: using his professional experience to consider the suspects, in order to determin which of them matches the deduced personality of the murderer.

Thirteen episodes were broadcast on the BBC Light Programme in 1957, aired weekly from April 23rd to July 16th.

Episodes 1, 7, 8, 11 and 12 in this collection are encoded from off-air recordings made in 1957. Episodes 3, 4 and 13 were recovered in Australia, where they had been broadcast on station 3LO Melbourne (probably in the 1960s). Episodes 2, 5, 6, 9 and 10 are encoded from repeats on BBC Radio 7 in the UK during 2007, and are consequently of higher technical quality than the others.

The files listed in the column VBR MP3 are not in fact variable bit rate files. This is a column for files which do not fall into any of the Archive's standard bitrate categories. Those on this page are either 32 Kbps at a sample rate of 22 kHz (those recorded in 1957), 64 Kbps at a sample rate of 44 kHz (those recorded from 3LO Melbourne), or 80 Kbps at a sample rate of 48 kHz (those recorded from BBC Radio 7, which are MPEG 1.0 Layer II files as encoded by the BBC).


Reviewer: Only1EmmaPeel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 23, 2016
Subject: How I wish
That radio programs like this were still being created. What talent! Such a terrible shame that no such talent exists today and that there are only 13 of these incredible shows to enjoy. Thank you to all folks who upload and all those who are part of
Reviewer: CaminoDiablo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 8, 2015
Subject: Great OTR but.....
The show is fun and I laugh and smile through the shows but, when it comes to who did the murder the script tells of things you could have never known since it was never talked about. Overall a great show just when it ends you're like, ok, wish I would have known more myself.
Reviewer: ausieradio - favoritefavoritefavorite - January 22, 2014
Subject: Cecil Parker (and Sheila Sim).
I was going to write a response to Jonfrum's criticism, but Ed 999 has already covered much of what I was going to say in his comments of March 31, 2011. Jonfrum: particularly read the last two paragraphs of Ed 999's review.

I will add one thing to what Ed 999 has said, and that concerns the relationship between Dr Morelle and Miss Frail, particularly the way she fawns all over him, and the pompous way he always talks to her. That is definitely played for laughs, and it's quite obvious that Cecil Parker and Sheila Sim are thoroughly enjoying their banter.

What I've just said doesn't take away from the fact that "Morelle" is first and foremost a drama. It is usually rated as one the top BBC radio dramas of the 1950s, although in my opinion its not really in the same class as "Paul Temple".
Reviewer: jonfrum - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 3, 2012
Subject: Can't unzip.
I just downloaded the zip file, and I can't get it to open. I opened another zip file at the same time, so the file for this show must be corrupted.

Listening to the first episode, I can't say I'm impressed. The protagonist has no appeal that I can detect. He's a stiff character with no sense of humor. I'll listen to another episode before I decide to give up on the show.
Reviewer: mtill - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 15, 2011
Subject: Title music--Dr Morelle series on BBC radio.
Of possible interest to some UK listeners to our BBC radio Seven,recently re branded as radio Four extra,I can inform them that the signature music features, as well as a few band instruments,organ music arranged and played by Jimmy Leach,whose playing style is unmistakeable to those with an interest in this area of music.
Jimmy Leach was a popular broadcaster in the UK from shortly before the start of WW2 until about 1967 and was best known for his frequent appearances on "Music While You Work",with his distinctive style of organ playing,usually on a Hammond,latterly sometimes a Rieg or a Baldwin instrument.During the 30 minute,live broadcasts he would switch to the top end of the piano and indulge in some fast "descant" material reminiscent of the Uke playing of George Formby.
He was also involved with the very popular Northern Dance Orchestra,on which there are entries on Google. Happy days! Mike
Reviewer: Ed 999 - - March 31, 2011
Subject: A Case For Dr Morelle

In answer to some of the questions...

To grotte13: You need to install Winamp 5 because it can stream all these files (whereas other players don't necessarily support all the three audio formats used by the files on this page - mp3 at 22kHz, mp3 at 44kHz, and mp2 at 48kHz - even if you download them and try playing them from your local disk). Go down the page, to the 'Individual Files' section: right-click on the link for the episode you wish to stream, then select 'Copy shortcut'. Next, open Winamp 5 and click the button marked 'PL' (to open Winamp's Playlist window); then click the button marked ADD, and then the button marked 'ADD URL'. A box entitled 'Open URL' will pop-up: right-click in it, then choose (click on) 'Paste' to paste into it the URL you copied. Then click the button labelled 'Open', and in a few seconds the stream will start playing. This solution even works for me - and I'm using Windows 98!

To baisers voles: If the streaming player doesn't work on your computer, try downloading the individual files from the links further down the page. All of them will play in Winamp 5.

To DuskinEdina: All thirteen shows will play in Winamp 5 or in Media Player Classic. These are not all mp3 files: some of them are mp2 files, which Windows Media Player cannot cope with. But re-encoding them would further damage the audio quality.

To solidgranite: These are old-time radio shows! The source material is more than 50 years old, and the sound quality of the recordings naturally reflects this. These are historic recordings: to further process them would damage them. Some hiss and crackle is natural for this type of historic AM radio material: you are hearing the broadcasts as they originally sounded.

To buccoman: Unfortunately, only thirteen editions of this show were ever made. Cecil Parker was a busy film actor, and was too much in demand in the movies to spend much time on radio work. In fact I don't know of any other occasion when he appeared on a radio show.

To manumoka: Sorry you didn't like these. But I disagree with your review. Cecil Parker is English, not American! He delivers his lines in a very laid-back English acting style, giving a pretty accurate imitation of an upper-class Englishman of the 1950s. Parker specialised in "under-playing", as it was known; and his acting style here is identical to his movie roles, in which he was very successful.

On a general point, for the benefit of anyone who is unfamiliar with Cecil Parker's other acting roles, I ought to mention that he was first and foremost a comedy actor! The 1950s radio audience would have known this. Hence this series is somewhat ambiguous: it appears, on the surface, to be a drama; yet the lead role is being played by a famous comedy star. And clearly the character of Dr Morelle, with his endless sarcasm, and his too pompous attitude, is being played for laughs. Also, the plots are rather stilted and unrealistic. So we have to realise that this was probably cast as a comedy, not as a drama - which rather gives it an extra dimension!
Reviewer: grotte13 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 25, 2011
Subject: help, please
liked them, the ones I could get to play, #1 Alarm Call, #3 Threat to Kill, #5 the sleepwalker, I like to listen streaming rather than download (figure download takes to much time and will fill up computer, prob wrong on that) Anyway the others wouldnt play even when let the little red arrow move by itself. then when restarted from #1 Only #1 would play again.

What am I doing wrong, want to hear the rest. thank you
Reviewer: busylaurie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 7, 2010
Subject: A Case For Dr Morelle
thank you for the Dr Morelle stories. I thoroughly enjoyed them
Reviewer: DaNess - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 12, 2009
Subject: Ay Ed!
Thank you so much for this upload, truly one of the more underrated detective shows of OTR, great stuff man.
Reviewer: manumoka - favoritefavorite - May 15, 2009
Subject: Disappointing
The stories are below average, even for the radio detective genre. The acting is generally good, but Cecil Parker is very ineffective delivering the lines of Dr. Morelle. His emotionless delivery sounds like he's reading a rehearsal run-through.
Reviewer: buccoman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 9, 2009
Subject: AWESOME
there has to be more of these somewhere HELP!!!!
Reviewer: solidgranite - favorite - March 30, 2009
Subject: Extremely Low Quality
I dl'd 3 of the episodes, and was careful to avoid those which had reported problems. Even so, the sound quality was AWFUL. I made it thru the first few minutes of each, then closed them. They were so poor in quality that I couldn't even get thru an entire episode.

Perhaps the original poster could resubmit them in another form, but as they are now, they are of extremely low quality.
Reviewer: DrSativa - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 9, 2009
Subject: good period radio show.
great stuff to listen to. To those who have had some playing issues, I have no problems listening to the episodes with 'Winamp'.
Reviewer: DuskinEdina - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 27, 2009
Subject: Wonderful Show!!
I just happened across this show. I have never hear about. The Stories are wonderful, I wish I could find writing like this in more shows. This is really a jewel of a find.

Only issue is how some are recorded/saved. Episode 2, 5, 6, 9, and 11 are some different format that won't play with Windows Media Player 11. I need some add-in for WMP but when I try to find one... I can't. Can anyone help?

They will to go into and I can play them in iTunes. But they will NOT load on to my iPod.

Can the person that uploaded change them to a normal MP3?

The Eight that would download to my iPod are all wonderful.

My rating is for the show quality. Not the files type problems.
Reviewer: baisers voles - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 19, 2009
Subject: great!
really enjoyed these... but could only get three of the episodes on the streaming player to work..
still this should not be missed.. my rating is based on the episodes i was able to listen to ..
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Old Time Radio
eye 29,110
favorite 13
comment 6
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 6 reviews )
Old Time Radio
eye 21,609
favorite 21
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Old Time Radio
by Robert Arthur, David Kogan
eye 72,173
favorite 32
comment 4
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 4 reviews )
Old Time Radio
by Old Time Radio Researchers Group
eye 614,905
favorite 135
comment 11
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 11 reviews )
Old Time Radio
eye 42,719
favorite 21
comment 1
favoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Old Time Radio
by NBC Radio
eye 240,845
favorite 85
comment 9
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 9 reviews )
Old Time Radio
eye 6,559
favorite 7
comment 3
favoritefavoritefavorite ( 3 reviews )
Old Time Radio
by Old Time Radio Researchers Group
eye 9,687
favorite 11
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Old Time Radio
eye 10,577
favorite 6
comment 1
( 1 reviews )
Source: Old Time Radio
Old Time Radio
eye 15,712
favorite 14
comment 0